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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley to G. G. Stokes   9 December 1864

Jermyn St

Dec. 9th 1864

My dear Stokes—

I am quite puzzled by the sarcastic tone of the last paragraph of your note of yesterday.1 I am not aware that I ever abused referees for keeping papers—or attacked the secretary for not stirring them up— I do recollect once getting a resolution of Council that referees should be stirred up, passed;2 but that has so long become a dead letter that you cannot be thinking of it.

The fact is I have not been at all remiss in ‘getting on with my own’ paper— The artist is keeping me waiting & I have stirred him up over & over again—3 Perhaps you will try your hand now.

Now it is my turn to have a little chaff, as we have taken to that line— Don’t you think that “As Falconer : Busk " excluded : omitted” is a good rule of three sum—?;4 and that our worthy & usually very accurate secretary,5 who could make the one mistake in writing, might (without too great sin) be supposed to have made the other in reading—?

Ever yours very faithfully | T. H. Huxley

P.S. The above problem in proportion is of course of a private character—


T. H. Huxley 1864b. The illustrator was J. Erxleben.
Huxley refers to Hugh Falconer and George Busk. See letters from T. H. Huxley to G. G. Stokes, 6 December 1864 and 8 December 1864, and letter from G. G. Stokes to T. H. Huxley, 7 December 1864.
Stokes was a secretary of the Royal Society of London.


THH rejects GGS’s charges. Chides him with possibility that if he substituted "Falconer" for "Busk" he might have done it also for "excluded" and "omitted".

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
George Gabriel Stokes, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
CUL (George Stokes papers, Add. 7656 H1386)
Physical description
2pp (on 4709)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4711,” accessed on 10 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12